Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a knight in shining armor? Medieval armor has long fascinated people with its intricate design and sheer strength. In this blog post, we’ll explore the top 5 best medieval armor Types.
We’ll also look at how medieval armor evolved throughout time, from its early beginnings to its demise, and cover the most expensive and cheapest medieval armors.
Table of Contents
The Gambeson is a medieval armor made of quilted linen or wool, historically stuffed with cloth or horsehair, and was a full-body jacket armor. It mainly offered decent protection from slash attacks but was quite vulnerable to thrust and piercing attacks. Knights often wore this medieval armor under their mail armor to add extra protection, and act as a buffer zone between their body and other types of armors.
Unlike plate armor, the gambeson was lightweight and easy to move in, but it was highly insulatory, making it uncomfortable to wear during hot weather. This type of medieval armor was used widely by foot soldiers who could not afford the more expensive plate armor.
4. Laminar armor
Laminar armor is a type of armor that was widely used during the medieval period, such as the Roman lorica segmentata. It is made up of horizontal leather or metal strips that overlap each other and its design is effective in resisting direct blows. The European plate armor of the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods provided the wearer with near-complete coverage from head to toe, while the chainmail suits provided both protection and freedom of movement.
Knights during this period frequently wore great helms over layers of maille and padding for further protection, especially against bludgeoning attacks. Armor pieces have survived from the medieval period, allowing researchers and enthusiasts today to visualize and appreciate the design evolution of different types of armor. Additionally, effigies of knights in full battledress can also be found, providing insight into the appearance of different types of armor during that period.
3. Scale armor
Scale armor has been used since ancient times and was commonly utilized in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia from the Viking Age until the second half of the 14th Century. The armor is made up of small metal scales that are attached to a base material such as leather or cloth. The scale armor typically provides better protection against blunt trauma than plate armor.
The Scythians are known to have been using scale armor since the VII – III century BCE. Scale armor was an interesting armor because of its superior defense mechanism against blunt forces of attack. If you’re interested in medieval armor, scale armor is definitely an important type that’s worth exploring!
2. Mail armor
Mail armor was the standard defense for the body and limbs during the 12th and 13th centuries. It was considered to be one of the strongest types of armor of the medieval period. Mail was made by weaving interlocking rings together, forming a fabric-like layer. Because of the quality of chains and work that went into making mail armor, it was particularly hard to pierce with most weaponry and offered a high level of protection against all kinds of attack.
Mail armor protected the warrior’s torso and limbs, and it was often accompanied by a mail hood to cover the head and neck, and mail hauberk to cover the legs. Around the 14th century, plate armor of steel took over from mail, starting with local additions to knees, elbows, and shins. Despite being replaced by plate armor, chain mail remained in use from the 9th century up to the late 13th century.
1. Plate armor
Plate armor is one of the most recognizable and iconic pieces of medieval armor. It was used extensively during the 13th century and became the norm after the 14th century. Plate armor is known for its ability to resist sword blows, arrows, and other threats while providing near-complete coverage from head to toe.
Different types of plate armor were developed in different regions of Europe, such as Milanese from Milan, Gothic from the Holy Roman Empire, and English plate armor from Greenwich. Despite the belief that plate armor made its wearers immobile, experiments have shown that they were highly functional and maneuverable.
Plate armor required immense skill and craftsmanship to create, which made it one of the most valuable and expensive types of medieval armor. Today, it remains a popular choice for reenactors and collectors alike.
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The Best Medieval Armor
Medieval armor consists of various components such as helmets, chain mail, hauberks, surcoats, camail, plate armor, and barding for horses. Infantrymen during the Middle Ages were expected to have an iron helmet and either a chain mail hauberk or gambeson, along with shields held in the left hand. To improve their armor on a budget, people looked for any opportunities they could find.
Among the types of armor, plate armor was the most effective but also the heaviest.
Overall, there are different types of armor available for various purposes. Whether you’re looking for full-body armor or just a helmet, you’ll find something to fit your needs and budget.
Medieval Armor Declined
Towards the middle of the 17th century, plate armor began to lose its significance and was mostly used for ceremonial purposes. Before that, plate armor had been considered the strongest armor in history, offering complete protection against thrusting, stabbing, and piercing attacks.
However, it was vulnerable to weapons such as maces and gunpowder firearms. Various types of medieval armor were known, including knight armor, helmets, chain mail armor, hauberk, surcoats, camail armor, and barding or horse armor. But the decline in the use of plate armor can mainly be attributed to its high cost of manufacture, as well as its vulnerability to certain weapons.
How medieval armor evolve over time
Medieval armor evolved significantly over time, from simple leather or chainmail coats worn in the Early Medieval period to sophisticated suits of plate armor in the Late Middle Ages. The High Medieval era saw the emergence of metal armor, and plate armor became the preferred type of armor for knights in the Late Middle Ages. Medieval armor types varied widely, with some knights wearing full-length hauberks that covered their entire body while others donned suits of plate armor that protected them from head to toe.
Medieval armor also became a symbol of status and fashion among the nobility, with aristocrats engaging in pan-European armor culture. The design and decoration of suits of armor became increasingly elaborate, with knights sometimes spending fortunes on custom-made armor. Overall, medieval armor evolved over time as a result of changes in warfare, fashion, and technology.
Most Expensive Medieval Armor
Plate armor was the most expensive armor in the Middle Ages, as it protected warriors fully from thrusting, stabbing, and piercing attacks. It was made from iron and steel and required extensive labor hours for construction. Chain mail armor (hauberk), on the other hand, was more commonly used and can provide excellent protection compared to the leather armor. Infantries with limited resources often found it challenging to acquire good quality armor.
Cheapest Medieval Armor
Leather armor was the cheapest of the three types of armor and was used by those who could not afford the more expensive armors. It was more comfortable and flexible than metal armor, but less protective overall. Medievalcollectibles.com offers historically authentic armor at affordable prices, perfect for those who wish to recreate an authentic Middle Ages warrior look without breaking the bank.
(FAQ) Frequently Asked Questions
What was the purpose of plate armor for medieval knights?
Plate armor for medieval knights served multiple purposes. Mainly, it provided protection against weapons like swords, arrows, and lances during battles. It also showed the knight’s social status and displayed their coat of arms on the armor. Additionally, plate armor helped distribute the weight of weapons and armor more evenly across the body, reducing the strain on the knight’s joints and allowing for greater mobility in battle.
What materials were commonly used to create medieval armors?
Medieval armor was typically made from a variety of materials, including iron, steel, leather, and chainmail. Different types of armor were often made from a combination of these materials to provide different levels of protection and flexibility. Additionally, some armor was decorated with decorative elements like gold or silver plating to showcase the wealth and status of the wearer.
Medieval armor has an exciting history and has evolved over the centuries, being designed to protect soldiers from swords and arrows on the battlefield. From plate armor to scale armor to mail armor, a wide range of medieval armors have been used over the years.
As you can see, medieval armor comes in all different shapes, sizes, and prices, so it’s essential to do further researching for other amor types and how they were used during the medieval era.
What type of medieval armor do you prefer?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!